companion piece to "I'm the Bastard". Probably a little less weird, but definitely equally dark. Sorry. Next story will be normal again.

I glance around the room, stopping to take another look at the bed. Yeah, it's going to be just another one of those nights. I feel... left. I always do after he... well, leaves. By now, you'd think I'd have got used to it, but have I? No, certainly not.

Ok, at first I didn't really notice. He came, he went. And occasionally, he'd come again. Nothing drastic at first, just coming and staying for a little. Then leaving. And I could never tell which it was when. All just a fleeting being there, being not-there.

But then time passed, and my grasp on what was real and what wasn't became a bit firmer. My concept of time started to be more in sync with what the clocks said. That's when I started to notice that he's just leaving... roughly about an hour after he's come, and roughly about three hours after he's showed up.

Yep, that's his time-frame: Three hours. Show up, talk a little, kiss a little, grope a little, come. Be silent a little, cuddle a little. Go.

So yeah, I do know he uses me. But it still takes two, right? I let him. So he's not more to blame than I am.

He just is like that. He takes. He has ever empty pockets, and just takes, takes, takes, whatever he can get. I give him a bit. Oh, he does give something in return, it's not like he's stealing or something. But he always makes sure he gets more than he gives. Pay a little, get a lot. Sounds like a bargain to me.

And, of course, he succeeds, will always succeed, as long as there's folks like me around, who sell their soul for a smile. Not that I do that. Nope, siree. I know him better than that. I sell him my soul for even less than a smile, and yet so much more.

There's evenings when he doesn't smile at all. Matter of fact, they're in the majority. Usually, when he comes to me, he just doesn't have the energy to smile. I'm not sure if he knows I know that. So, mostly, no smile for me.

But I get eyes. People tend to forget about his eyes when they see his smile. Granted, he does have a dazzling smile, but how could anyone put that above his eyes? I swear, sometimes I feel like he looks straight into me. No idea what he sees down there, but it obviously doesn't spook him off, because he keeps and keeps returning. Like clockwork... weird clockwork, my clockwork... or his... or maybe ours.

Anyway, I'm sure he sees everything with those eyes of his. There's nowhere to hide from them. His look can become so intense, I swear, I get the shivers all down my back.

So I get less and more at the same time.

I think he's lonely. Desperately so. And when he has nobody else to turn to, or when another set of breasts and thighs leading to a moist spot, just don't cut it for him, then it's my turn.

My turn. Yeah. I actually like it when he comes to me. I like feeling needed. That's a big disadvantage of staying at an asylum: You're as needed as a sore eye. You could be just any guy. Docs treat your symptoms, pretending to go for the heart of things, but they never see the person. I've never felt seen by any of those shrinks.

Face, he sees me. More of me than I'm comfortable with zo be honest, but he doesn't care. And so I tell myself that I don't care either. Which is a lie, really, but I can live with it.

I wish I could look into him, sometimes. Wonder what I'd see. Maybe he's not spooked off, because he looks similar inside? But maybe I'm completely off the mark.

That's the crux with him: I don't know him. After years of friendship – and we are friends –, after a couple of years as sporadic... dare I call it lovers? Whichever, after years with him as a fix point in my life, I should know him, but I don't. I only know things about him. That I do a lot. I'm Face's shrink. Seeing parts and parts and yet more parts, but the puzzle never makes a full picture. There's always parts missing somewhere, and then there are pieces fluttering around that don't fit in at all, and seem to belong to a completely different picture. But they're there, so how do I deal with that? More importantly, how does he deal with that? No wonder he's out of sync. Yeah, out of sync with himself.

Hey, I guess I finally figured Face out.

I'll make him a clock... a Face-Clock. One that... that shows what, exactly? Boy, Boy, Boy, Murdock. You're losing it.

Ok, not really. I had lost it a while ago... when I didn't really notice whether Face was coming, staying or going. Now, I know that. I know when he's absent, 'cause that's when I miss him.

I know when he's here, 'cause that's when I feel fully content.

I know he doesn't love me.

I'm his emergency-programme, his safety-log, his back-up system. Sounds crude to your ears? Well it should. It is. But that's what I am. I love him anyway. I've learned a long time ago that most times, love is a one way road. Only the lucky ones get two lanes.

He's my one way. I'm his... parking lot?

Jeesh, listen to me. I'm an unfair a-hole. I'm not even sure Face is able to give any more than he's already giving, and yet I'm here, bad-mouthing him. I'm doing it creatively, so that earns me points, but I'm still probably being unfair.

Huh. Maybe I just better take my meds and slip into the bed where two hours ago he has sat with me.

Yeah, better do that. It's "lights out" in eight seconds anyway.


And after this, Face seems evenmore like a bastard than he already does in the companion-story...

So sorry.